WASHINGTON (Nov. 11, 2016) — Clarence Ditlow, the auto safety crusader who fought to expose dangerous defects and put pressure on both the auto industry and regulators to make vehicles safer over the course of a decades-long career, died Nov. 10 at age 72.
Mr. Ditlow was the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) in Washington, a watchdog group founded by Consumers Union and consumer advocate Ralph Nader in 1970.
The organization helped prompt some of the highest-profile automotive recalls in history, including the Ford Pinto for exploding gasoline tanks in the 1970s and defective Firestone tires installed on the popular Ford Explorer in the late 1990s.
Mr. Ditlow's death came after a yearlong battle with colon cancer, a CAS staff attorney said.
“Spanning four decades, his work forced the auto industry to make vast improvements in the safety, reliability and fuel efficiency of the vehicles on which Americans depend daily,” the center said in statement Nov. 11.